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Ethos ± is a Greek word which means character/culture
- Branch of Philosophy which determines right and wrong
Moral - personal/private interpretation from what is good and bad.

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A code of ethics is a guide for an individual or group to follow in making decisions

regarding ethical issues.


In the broadest sense, ethics are the principles that guide an individual, group, or
profession in conduct. Although nurses do make independent decisions regarding
patient care, they are still responsible to the profession as a whole in how those
decisions are made. From the earliest concept of nursing, the proper behavior and
conduct of a nurse was closely scrutinized. Florence Nightingale wrote of specific issues
of conduct and moral behavior. The Nightingale pledge that was composed in 1893 by
nursing instructor Lystra Gretter includes the vow "to abstain from whatever is
deleterious and mischievous and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful

Over the last 100 years, nursing has evolved into a very complex professional field.
Nurses are now faced with life and death decisions, sometimes on an hourly basis.
Medical care has advanced to the point that new technology with its potential benefit or
harm to a patient changes constantly. Although the private conduct of a nurse is no
longer controlled by the employer, the effects of that lifestyle on the nurse's ability to
think and respond to patients while on duty falls under the code of ethics.


The study of ethics is actually a branch of philosphy. The word ethics is derived from the
Greek term ‘  which means customs, habitual usage, conduct, and character. The
study of ethics has led to the identification of basic concepts including rights, autonomy,
beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice, and fidelity. Understanding these concepts
assists the nurse with making decisions during difficult situations.

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1. Autonomy ± the right/freedom to decide (the patient has the right to refuse despite
the explanation of the nurse)  ‘‘
  ‘ ‘
2. Nonmaleficence ± the duty not to harm/cause harm or inflict harm to others (harm
maybe physical, financial or social)
3. Beneficence- for the goodness and welfare of the clients
4. Justice ± equality/fairness in terms of resources/personnel
5. Veracity ± the act of truthfulness
6. Fidelity ± faithfulness/loyalty to clients

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1. Golden Rule
2. The principle of Totality ± The whole is greater than its parts
3. Epikia ± There is always an exemption to the rule
4. One who acts through as agent is herself responsible ± (instrument to the crime)
5. No one is obliged to betray herself ± You cannot betray yourself
6. The end does not justify the means
7. Defects of nature maybe corrected
8. If one is willing to cooperate in the act, no justice is done to him
9. A little more or a little less does not change the substance of an act.
10. No one is held to impossible